Six months after violently breaking out of the Camp Street penitentiary with four other inmates, wanted man Andrew Douglas was found shot to death in a car early yesterday morning at Farm, East Bank Demerara.
Exactly who shot him was shrouded in mystery but insiders say he was apparently wounded in a gunfight early yesterday morning on Sheriff Street.
According to a reliable source, the car in which Douglas was found, was registered to a Natasha Gonsalves and was said to have been hijacked on August 18. It was spotted on Sheriff Street,
Georgetown at about 1:05 am yesterday, just before the shootout.
In a release yesterday, the police said that they were investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of a body, identified as that of Douglas in a motor car, PEE 2947, at Farm.
"Further enquiries revealed that the number plate is false and the registered number is PHH 6034. The car was stolen at Barr Street, Kitty on August 18, from a private citizen," the release stated.
The police said gunshot wounds were found on the body and that they were trying to ascertain how the dead man came about the wounds. He sustained wounds to the back and chest, sources say.
This newspaper understands that Douglas was killed by one of his accomplices in crime after he was wounded in the Sheriff Street shootout.
An informed source told this newspaper that at 1:05 am Douglas and four other men, suspected to have been the other escapees, were together at a nightspot on Sheriff Street.
Two of the men were in the gold coloured Toyota Carina, with number plate PEE 2947, which was parked in Sheriff Street, close to Drury Lane. Sources said some men in the area recognised the escapees and approached the vehicle, but three other men entered the car hurriedly and opened fire on those approaching.
Stabroek News understands that there was an exchange of gunfire as the car sped away. Five hours later, the police received information that a car was found abandoned at Farm with the body of "a male Afro-Guyanese".
The Police Public Relations Department yesterday stated that the Sheriff Street shooting was "gang-related" and that the police were not involved.
Within hours of the discovery, Stabroek News was told that the body was positively identified as that of Douglas. "We know this because an inhaler was found in one of his pockets. Also, two nurses who had treated him while he was at Camp Street [jail] said it was him...and from fingerprints," a source said.
At around 1:15 am yesterday, residents in the vicinity of the Campbellville Secondary School on Sheriff Street reported hearing bursts of rapid gunfire. According to one person, the shooting came from the direction of the nightspots. The man said when he looked out revellers were running in all directions, trying to seek cover.
However, the eyewitness said, to his amazement, shortly after the shooting, he noticed patrons "back to partying as if nothing ain't happen".
Several other people, some as far away as Lodge and lower Newtown, told Stabroek News that they were awakened by the hail of gunfire at about the same time and thought that someone's business premises was being attacked by bandits.
"It started out with individual shots, `Blam! Blam! Blam!' Then there was rapid fire. Then there was a pause and the rapid fire started again, shorter than the first session," one person recalled.
Another person, who was partying on Sheriff Street in the wee hours of yesterday morning told this newspaper that he saw four neatly dressed men drive up in the vehicle and park close to one of the nightspots.
The men remained in the vehicle and one of them was overheard saying, "Dey coming". Shortly after, the witness said, he saw other men approach.
What ensued was a blazing gunfight between the two groups of men, the man recalled. He described the event as resembling "a scene out of the movies". Reports state that Douglas was shot while getting into his car with the other men. Unconfirmed reports state, too, that another escapee who broke out of the Camp Street jail with Douglas, was shot in the arm.
At Farm yesterday, curious onlookers swarmed the scene, as a band of policemen tried to keep the crowd at bay. The abandoned car was parked on the left shoulder of the road, facing the river.
As the forensic team dusted the car for fingerprints, Stabroek News observed what appeared to be a bullet hole on the lower rear of the vehicle. That spot was circled and marked "2B".
After several hours, the cops lifted the body from the back seat of the car and placed it on the ground. The ranks stood close together in a half circle around the car and pulled piles of blood-soaked sheets from the car.
A black bag was also taken from the vehicle and its contents - mostly items of clothing - were strewn on the roadway and checked, before being replaced and taken into custody. A small bottle of cream liqueur and a smaller one containing some green liquid, too were recovered from the abandoned car. A source said the police also found a bag of medical supplies in the vehicle.
Douglas, who was imprisoned awaiting trial for what police at the time had said were a series of robberies in association with Linden 'Blackie' London, escaped with Troy Dick, Dale Moore, Shawn Brown and Mark Fraser from the Camp Street jail on February 23.
During their daring daytime escape bid, one prison officer, 21-year-old, Troy Williams, was mortally wounded, while his colleague, Roxanne Winfield, was badly injured and had to undergo a series of operations both locally and overseas.
Since the escape of the five and the subsequent killing of police Superintendent, Leon Fraser in April, there has been an upsurge of criminal activities in the country.
Douglas, during his time on the run, produced a videotape recording in which he made several allegations. That tape was shown on a popular television newscast.
The fugitive, who appeared in the clip dressed in what appeared to be military fatigues and holding a submachine gun in one hand, claimed, among other things, that he was wrongfully labelled a criminal.